Turkish soap operas tend to show the more comical side of daily living under military law, but storylines that touch upon the political era following the 1980s military coup d’etat inevitably depict some of the reality that was three years of control by the army. From stories told first and second-hand, from these sitcoms and reading in depth the history and politics that led there, essentially what all I know for sure is that it was in so many ways a horrid time in Turkey’s (very recent) history. Turkish people have no wish to return to such a rule, repercussions from which still affect society and politics today. Last night’s attempted coup was different, with a different outcome (so it seems).
As frightening as it is to be in a situation that you struggle to understand, have no frame of reference for, and don’t know what the outcome will be – only that things will not be tomorrow as calm as they were yesterday – frightening as that is, last night thousands of Turkish citizens collectively marched against the military, for democracy – with the full support of all political parties. A demonstration of solidarity as a nation and the strength of the people. In a country with as many political and social trust issues as Turkey, in a country where the temperament of the people is excitable and action-ready, where people kill each other over cups of tea and politicians punch each other in parliament; in a situation where many of the soldiers participating in the coup were likely young men following orders, doing nothing but their compulsory national service (as our children will be obliged to do); in a world that is increasingly divided: After a fortnight in which everyday has brought a new heartbreak, to see people put aside these differences to preserve the democratic rule of their country, well, there was a glimmer of hope there inshallah. Respect, Turkey.
This morning is eerily quiet in contrast to the emotion of last night, but there is little doubt the country our kids woke up in is – for better or worse – a different country to the one they went to sleep in.